Not content with having us wander around seemingly jabbering to ourselves when making a phone call on the iPhone headset, Apple has yet another confused look-provoking feature to share.
Games are coming to the iPhone in June thanks to the recently released SDK (Software Developers Kit). Not just point and click stuff, not just Tetris, games that require shaking, rotating, twisting and flipping. The accelerometer in the iPhone is incredible when you’re looking at pictures or websites and need to quickly rotate the screen and now this impressive technology is being harnessed to make the device the “Wii of handheld gaming”. The iPhone is not a toy, stop it, stop it, stop it!
Picture the scene:
9.45: Hop on the bus, plug in iPhone headphones and listen to the latest iCreate podcast. A couple of suppressed giggles garner some strange looks from other public transport users but nothing to worry about.
9.50: Podcast is getting going but I’m interrupted by a phone call. Click the button on iPhone headphones to receive call. “Hello?” I say, apparently into thin air. Most assume I’m singing along to Lionel Richie.
10.00: Finish chatting away while appearing to still listen to iPod with no discernible telephone anywhere nearby. It was a friend informing me that the new iPhone App store is available with games and really cool third-party apps. I fire up Safari.
10.20: Successfully download Super Monkey Ball for iPhone. It’s a primate in a ball that must be rolled, Marble Madness-style, to the end of the level. The controls? You guessed it – accelerometer.
11.30: Level one completed. Successfully navigated the ape in a ball by tilting the iPhone. Imagine how stupid you look playing tennis on a Nintendo Wii and multiply it by ten. Then imagine doing it in public.
10.35: Game’s getting harder, motions more frantic. Concerned onlookers fear some kind of fit from the guy talking to himself a few minutes before. I bought this iPhone to look cool!
10.40: Bus arrives outside office. Police & Ambulance are waiting. Apparently someone with a “regular” telephone tipped them off.
So what’s next? Default ABBA ringtones? A voice-activated unlock feature that requires you to sing the first four bars of Build Me Up Buttercup? Apple, this is the coolest piece of technology ever to be produced, please don’t reduce it to a plaything. Perhaps that’s why they announced the Microsoft Exchange support for iPhone at the same time, to balance the lightweight, consumer extras with heavy business power tools. Then again, that’s Microsoft technology and when have those guys ever been cool?
Let’s just hope that beyond the games studios, some truly brilliant third-party apps for iPhone are in the works that don’t make us look like morons when using them. Either that or the popularity of the phone will grow by such a degree that swinging your arms and legs about and talking to yourself in public will become the norm.